By now, drinkers who are red wine aficionados are probably up to their ears in frizzy, sweet moscatos and wines that are anemic shades of pink. Don’t worry, summer is almost over, and you can soon get back to drinking room-temperature red wines without pouring them into a coffee cup and retreating to a spot of shade where no one will see you.
In the meantime, here are a dozen worldly reds to start getting you in shape for the winter wine leagues.
2010 Stéphane Ogier "L’Âme Soeur" syrah Pays de Seyssel (price not yet determined). A lovely spicy, smoky, lean wine that nevertheless has loads of dark raspberry flavors and mineral notes. Young Ogier is pioneering this promising, newly rediscovered region of northern Rhone.
2009 Jordan Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon ($53). This wine has beautiful fruits that range from cherries to plums, but you should decant it an hour in advance to allow them to develop. Very much in the classic "claret" style, it is also lean in the finish to balance out the fruit. Decant now or drink in a dozen years, telling yourself how smart you were to buy it for this price back in 2013.
2011 XYZin California Old Vines zinfandel ($16). Nicely made with rounded, creamy fruit, and just a touch of heat. Light tannins, good finish.
2010 RouteStock "Route 29" Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon ($20). Fruit-forward, heavy, and jammy with mixed berry flavors. It could use more structure, balance and complexity for the appellation.
2011 William Hardy South Australia shiraz ($20). An enjoyable, basic wine — tasty mature fruit built on a nicely lean structure. The flavors are dark cherry, a touch of tobacco, and fine savory notes.
2010 Château Cantin St-Émilion Grand Cru ($28). Bigger (15.5 percent alcohol) and more pleasurable than many sing-song St-É’s, it is full, ripe and rich, yet doesn’t seem overly extracted. Dark berry flavors transition into a chocolate finish with a touch of Right Bank pencil lead.
2011 Clos Beauregard Pomerol ($50). It is frankly a little underwhelming with not much of a middle body. More savory than fruity. (I wanted something more…)
2010 Castello Banfi "Belnero" Toscana IGT ($24). Mixture of black, creamy raspberries and raspy, assertive blackberries. Medium body, but not a pushover, one of those welcome wines that can be sipped solo or taken to the table.
2010 Château Lestage Simon Haut Medoc ($21). A good, traditional Left Banker with currants and dark cherries, good mineral notes, full-bodied, still a little tight. These are the affordable cellar-stuffer wines that will still be drinking well for years.
2010 Flegenheimer Bros. McLaren Vale Reserve reserve red wine ($28). Should this be poured by the glass or by the shot? If you like big, big reds (almost 16 percent alcohol) with lots of port or heated eau de vie aftertastes, this is your wine. From shiraz and petite sirah grapes, it has pleasant jammy fruit in the seedy black raspberry style. We would be tempted to dip a triangle of toasted bread in it with our morning coffee.
2011 Vinaceous "Voodoo Moon" Margaret River malbec ($15). You may be tempted to hide its trailer-park label in a brown bag if you’re serving to friends, but, that aside, it’s a good, simple food wine with lean, earthy fruitiness of elderberries. Don’t judge this wine by its label.
2010 Waterstone Napa Valley merlot ($18). A well-behaved, rounded, not-complex wine with lots of balanced red cherry flavors and light tannins — a good, pleasant, sippin’ wine.